Author Topic: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1  (Read 15624 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2016, 05:06:05 pm »
It would be quite ironic if OSHWA trademarks the logo.

Actually, what are the ramifications of Trademarking their new compliance logo?
Technically, would every person who wants to use it have to sign a trademark license contract or some such?
I don't think you can have everyone using your logo willy-nilly without formal contracts in place and then be in a position to actually defend that trademark?
It's starting to sound like a bureaucratic death spiral.
 

Offline timofonic

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2016, 05:02:46 am »
It's almost cute......


This one is definitely cute, IMO. A psychologist, apparently. I'd lay on the chaise longue for her and let her examine me any day. Phwoah yeah.

Low standards, you are too used to cheap parts ;)
 

Offline b_force

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2016, 10:11:51 pm »
The problem with the OSHW definition is that is leaves no room for companies to protect their product in arguably reasonable ways, thus probably forcing a lot of bigger companies to get scared and not open their designs up at all.
For example, if a multimeter manufacturer wanted to produce an otherwise "open hardware" multimeter, but didn't want to release say the original CAD files for the case and mouldings (which would be useless to anyone except a direct cloner), how do they do it? They can't call it "OSHW" and use the logo for a product where they have otherwise made completely open in terms of schematics, firmware, protocols etc.
This is the position Makerbot found themselves in.
I don't see the problem here.
The manufacturer can still just open source the technical aspect of it, eg the PCB and documentation, but keep the visual aspects closed sourced.
Pretty much the same how patents work, were there is a clear difference between utility patents and design patents.

Some people may argue if that's completely according to the 'open source vibe'. In my opinion, the open source mentality is all about making it a better world (literally). Because of the closed (and imo arrogant) character of patents, technology and improvement stops where the patent ends.
Even if that patents helps the entire world on any kind of way, there is no way someone else is able to improve that product even more.
We are limited by the ideas, skills and even intentions of the patents owner(s). So if their goal is just selling as much as possible (which unfortunately is mostly the case), to bad for the rest of us.

This is especially true in the medical sector, but off course it applies to many other ideas.

If we go back to to just the case and moldings, eg the visual aspect of a product, in my opinion it isn't part of the product itself.
Or said on a different way, you can make a very ugly case, no case, a black case or green case, the multimeter will always just work as a multimeter.
On the other hand, one could also say that about the PCB, which sometimes have a clear visual aspect as well.
So I think it would be wise to define this a little better in the OSHW definition.

In my opinion it must be something like that a designer must provide the ESSENTIALS to make a working product.
(if it's about a completely finished product like a multimeter)


Offtopic:
I have a very huge problem with paid memberships. The idea is IMO 180 degrees against the whole OSHW spirit. The whole idea is that everything is open and equal. With paid memberships the whole essential idea is just by definition kicked away, because certain people gain more benefits by having a bigger wallet. Absolutely unacceptable!!!!!  :--

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Offline EEVblog

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2016, 10:22:26 pm »
If we go back to to just the case and moldings, eg the visual aspect of a product, in my opinion it isn't part of the product itself.
Or said on a different way, you can make a very ugly case, no case, a black case or green case, the multimeter will always just work as a multimeter.
On the other hand, one could also say that about the PCB, which sometimes have a clear visual aspect as well.
So I think it would be wise to define this a little better in the OSHW definition.

I agree.
Unfortunately that's not in the spirit of the OSWH definition and those who defined it, so I doubt "they" will ever change that.

Quote
In my opinion it must be something like that a designer must provide the ESSENTIALS to make a working product.
(if it's about a completely finished product like a multimeter)

I like the idea I came up with (biased of course) and mentioned on the Amp Hour a while back.
An OSHW logo that includes different "levels" of openness visible in it's logo.
e.g. A different letter (or whatever) in each "tooth" in the logo that you can add based on what you make available.
For example,
Just a schematic get one level.
Schematic + PCB files get you another.
Firmware another.
CAD files another
BOM another
etc.

Quote
The idea is IMO 180 degrees against the whole OSHW spirit.

Yep, it's a dumb bureaucratic idea.
So what's the update? it's been a while since this was proposed, did it grow any legs?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Offline b_force

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2016, 10:44:27 pm »
In addition to my previous post. Off course you can also use it the other way around.
So the visual aspects (= equivalent design patent) could be open source, but the technological aspect (= equivalent utility patent) is closed. 
Or a mix.

I guess the different degree of openness is a very good idea, but I don't know how that can be done on a practical way.
What if someone just shares parts of the schematic or parts of the BOM?
I also think that the definitions on each level has to be very genuine.
The 'hardware' aspect could also be used for woodworking for example, or even gardening.
Drawings/blue-prints of these things are very equivalent to a schematic, although the jargon is different.

Btw, that 'they' need to change the definition, doesn't make sense to me.
Open source is open source, which means that by definition their definition (lol, no pun) is open source as well!!
That means that I can copy their definition, change it with credits and make it open source again so other people can develop the definition further and further. That includes logos, drawings, documents and everything that is needed.

Open source, with a closed source certificate/definition is otherwise a perfect example of being extremely hypocritical.
So Dave, if you like to change these aspects, there is no one who can stop you doing it, hence the definition of being and acting open source.

edit:
I like the gear logo much much more.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 10:52:45 pm by b_force »
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2016, 11:23:04 pm »
Btw, that 'they' need to change the definition, doesn't make sense to me.
Open source is open source, which means that by definition their definition (lol, no pun) is open source as well!!
That means that I can copy their definition, change it with credits and make it open source again so other people can develop the definition further and further. That includes logos, drawings, documents and everything that is needed.

Of course. Anyone can do anything they want. But in the end it's about community buy-in.
it would be silly for everyone to define their own standard and way of doing things.

Quote
So Dave, if you like to change these aspects, there is no one who can stop you doing it, hence the definition of being and acting open source.

I know, and it's been way down on my to-do list.
Perhaps I'll use my down time after the knee operation to work on it and publish something.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2016, 12:03:17 am »
Btw, that 'they' need to change the definition, doesn't make sense to me.
Open source is open source, which means that by definition their definition (lol, no pun) is open source as well!!
That means that I can copy their definition, change it with credits and make it open source again so other people can develop the definition further and further. That includes logos, drawings, documents and everything that is needed.

Of course. Anyone can do anything they want. But in the end it's about community buy-in.
it would be silly for everyone to define their own standard and way of doing things.

Quote
So Dave, if you like to change these aspects, there is no one who can stop you doing it, hence the definition of being and acting open source.

I know, and it's been way down on my to-do list.
Perhaps I'll use my down time after the knee operation to work on it and publish something.
If you need some serious pare of hands, don't hesitate to contact me. :)

It has been on my list for a while as well. More to set it up much broader. Clean up the mess if you will.
I see many great ideas popping out of the ground here and their, but I don't see one coherent structure in it at all.
I am also talking about the more serious projects (no offense, but most OSHW I see are just little sensor boards and so on).
Besides, whole sections of electronics designers are not really involved at all (think about audio section for example, really big, but mainly ruled by big $$$ companies).

But it all starts with those kind ideas like yours. Ideas that make a lot of sense!


Good luck with your knee btw!  :-+
(it's so bloody annoying not really being able to to stuff that way)

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Offline b_force

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2016, 12:35:30 am »
I have been thinking about the logo thing, but I think just a number in the middle or a word would be easier.
Something like bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond names etc.
Or just numbers from 0-10, were 10 is fully open source.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 12:38:16 am by b_force »
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Offline b_force

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #34 on: July 29, 2016, 10:51:02 pm »
Alright, well this is what I like to propose.
Please let me know what you guys think of it.
I also like to add that it has to be usable for all kinds of fields, so not only electronics.
The idea can be used from a technical point of view, but from a visual point of view as well.
Let me come back to that a little later.

Number in LogoAwardMeaning
1BronzeLowest, only schematic/blue print/plan has been shared. This document contains enough to make a copy. With some more effort a second user can make his own PCB
1+Bronze +Same as bronze but documents are shared in an Open Source format
2SilverPlans/schematics are being shared and PCB files as well (GERBER + original)
2+Silver +Same as Silver but again all files are in Open Source format
3GoldSilver + mechanical plans/ideas are being shared
3+Gold +All documents are made in Open Source software
4PlatiniumAll documents are being shared to make, build or sell a full working product
5DiamondEverything is shared in Open Source format (and maybe in even other formats) so everybody should be able to use it


This table has been written from the perspective of an electronic engineer, but it can also being used as for woodworkers, design engineers, visual artists etc. Obviously it needs improvement to cover all of that, but I just wanted to start somewhere. There are other people out there who are better with words than I am  ;D
First, let me give a number of examples to make it clear.

I think the best example of a full Diamond award product, could be a 3D printer or CNC machine.
It clearly combines mechanical, visual and electronic parts. You need all of these documents to make a full working copy or to improve the product.
However, the concept of a (new) 3D print doesn't necessarily has to start with the electronics. People could start with the mechanics first and just later on develop additional electronics. In that case the descriptions in the table can be seen the other way around.

Another example is that a product can grow, maybe a multimeter for example.
So it starts with a prove of concept, let's say a working schematic.
From there a second person develops a PCB.
Than a third person designs a nice case and so we have a working product at the end.

This whole idea is written from the perspective of a full working end product (salable as a working product)
In my opinion that's where it is all about at the end.
The consumer needs a clear and transparent idea how a product is made.
An amplifier for example, can't be used on it's own, but it also needs a case and knobs to make it work.

In practice that means that most designs on this forum would I think end with Silver + at max, unless someone develops a nice case as well.
A Freeduino is an example of a Silver award (Eagle is not free open source and with the free version it's not possible to use it on a commercial way).
I think most (but not all!) Arduino boards are in the same category.
A Raspberry Pi doesn't get any awards (only parts of the schematics can be found).
Daves ucurrent project is a Silver award, because it's not made in open source software. (correct me if I'm wrong)
If he would spend some time in more documentation about the case, the whole product could get a Gold award.
(or even Platinum for people who like to 3D print/make the case from scratch)

The big question is, how far does someone need to go to get an certain Open Source award?
A 3D printer can be completely build from open source hardware, except the power supply.
Wall adapters are very cheap nowadays, so why why even bother right?
I guess in this case we need to look if the design of the power supply is essential to make the 3D printer work.
The 3D printer is being build to print stuff, if the power supply is open or closed, doesn't change that.
But what about the electronics for the stepper motors?

Another difficult point is how to judge products with multiple products in it.
A car for example is very complicated and contains even multiple smaller products.
It could be that not all of these products are fully open source.
My best idea is to take an average of the award numbers and round it.
On top of that, to get a + (or diamond) award, ALL documents need to be open source.

So, this is a long story and brainstorm out of my head.
I personally think it's important to make OSHW much more clear and transparent.
There are to many people and companies out there who claim to be open source.
The question is, how open are they exactly?

Oh, btw, I attached a little picture about the idea how the number is shown on a PCB for example
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Offline prasimix

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2016, 04:54:45 pm »
Good work b_force. I'm not sure that when existing "gear" sign is use that there is enough space in the middle to print "award number" using PCB silkscreen printing. But it's central position looks good.

I didn't understand remark about Eagle. It's free version has PCB size limitation but it can be used to generate Gerbers files without limits (and that you need for manufacturing/replication). Do you think that open source project need to be designed in tools that allows second user to modify it without limitation? The same question is with mechanical modeling. Do you presume that CAD tool has to be free or open source? If yes, that we can think about another level (maybe "minus" as an opposite to suggested "plus" sign) when used development tools are not FOSS?

I'm trying to offer my current project as open as possible, actually I'd like to end it with DFM. Could you as an exercise take a look and let me know what number it deserve? (GutHub HW, SW, home page).
 

Offline b_force

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #36 on: July 31, 2016, 06:46:31 am »
Good work b_force. I'm not sure that when existing "gear" sign is use that there is enough space in the middle to print "award number" using PCB silkscreen printing. But it's central position looks good.

I didn't understand remark about Eagle. It's free version has PCB size limitation but it can be used to generate Gerbers files without limits (and that you need for manufacturing/replication). Do you think that open source project need to be designed in tools that allows second user to modify it without limitation? The same question is with mechanical modeling. Do you presume that CAD tool has to be free or open source? If yes, that we can think about another level (maybe "minus" as an opposite to suggested "plus" sign) when used development tools are not FOSS?

I'm trying to offer my current project as open as possible, actually I'd like to end it with DFM. Could you as an exercise take a look and let me know what number it deserve? (GutHub HW, SW, home page).
The text inside the gear logo is 1mm, which should be more than enough to print.
Suggestions are always welcome.

I find the idea of using a 'minus' the other way around. It is about sharing your project in the first place.
If that project is being made in open source software, that deserves an extra point.
You can say that it's more open source if you will.

I am not quiet sure if free programs can also be considered as open source.
In the case of DesignsSpark for example, people will have full access without any limitations.
On the other hand, the software itself is not open source.  :-// :-\
In the case of Eagle, it's a bit more complicated.
Yes, you can export GEBER files etc with the free version, but you can't edit/further develop the design.
I personally don't agree that GERBER files are enough, those are only necessary for the PCB kitchen chefs.
GERBER files are not equal to the source. It's like giving someone a magazine, but not the original office files to edit that magazine.
Or a video, but not the original files with all the layers/channels.

To help you decide which open source award you get, you just have to follow the table.
In short, are all files accessible (schematics, BOM's, PCB, GERBER) in a way that people can make a copy and/or edit and modify your project?
If the files are made with open source software (like KiCad), ad a '+'.
Do the same for the mechanical side.

I think most projects will end with a Gold or Platinum award, because it is really difficult to do everything in open source software.
(although not impossible)

edit:
Maybe free (but not open source) software can be done with an asterisks (*) ?
So a number without anything is made with closed source software where a license is needed.
A number with a asterisks is made with free software (but not open source, like Designspark)
At last the number with a + means that also the software is opensource.
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Offline CM800

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2016, 01:45:42 am »
I think we should accomidate for open source firmware but close source hardware.

Or a closed source product that has a open source backplane with decent documentation (for example a lab-rack which allows people to develop their own modules with an open expandable interface.)

An open source design that uses a closed source control chip, like an ASIC-on-a-board e.g. ESP series or those little bluetooth boards.

For example, if I design a big 4 axis cnc controller and have a small closed source board that plugs in. I should really be able to say the cnc controller is open source, teating the plugin as a chip.

(I mean logically saying no to that is like saying open-source requires everything to be made out of discreet transistors.)

does that make sense?

I know it's not 'proper open source' however encouraging products like that would make the world a better place by far.


EDIT:

Maybe we should consider it somthing like 'Hacker Friendly'.

HF mark anyone?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2016, 01:50:36 am by TCWilliamson »
 

Offline prasimix

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2016, 01:57:18 am »
Hm, what kind of world open hardware can make? Perhaps one that is too good to be true, an utopia? I can imagine how people that comes from software industry is willing open hardware and vice versa. Something like: open your heart but I'll keep my secrets for myself (just in case) ... or just because I'm not confident that I can survive such opening. Didn't get your point. It looks like a great step for hermetically closed environment, but here we are discussing about complete openness and means how to recognize and label it. That can be a tool to identify all that attempts to promote something as open hardware that it is not.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2016, 02:43:20 am »
@ TCWilliamson
Yes it makes a little sense and it is in line what I was trying to say.
Having everything open source is an utopian kind of idea.
I mean, how far do people want to go? Because very literally speaking, if I take a certain DSP or even an opamp, people might say it's not open source anymore??  :-//

(speaking of which, the OSHW community is by itself operating on a closed way, and are even debating about asking a fee for downloading the OSHW license  :palm: |O |O :wtf: :wtf:)

So by definition, there is a very big grey area and there will be certain 'levels' how open source something is.
In other words, if we follow this definition, even open source software is an utopia and non-existing.
At the end it simply comes down to standard copyrights.

But the whole idea I guess, is to give some kind of guideline.
People like to develop things for the community and others like to improve it.
That's the whole concept of open source (and biggest difference with closed patents)
I personally still believe that it is also the only way to get the best products on the market, because there are no profits involved.
A company with a patent could just freeze the whole development and sell his product forever.
Other companies can compete with a different approach, but you may end up with only a bunch of mediocre products, instead of improving the original idea.

With labels you get at least a better kind of sense what's going on.
Some people might take advantage of it, but that's not a huge difference than without any labels.
Those labels are only about the main and essential functions of the product.
So if your product uses a uController with very specific software and that software is not available, it is not open source.
Even if the rest of your idea is entirely open, the whole thing is useless if people can't use your code.





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Offline CM800

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #40 on: August 03, 2016, 08:10:05 pm »
It is a tricky line of thinking.

If I choose to use a chip that nobody else provides, for example a Trinamic motion control chip. Its that still open-source?
.... And is it as open source as me developing my own ASIC, documenting it and selling it, along with developing it into an open-source project?

The idea of all designs being open and free -is- utopian and it leaves them to violation where people can take other people's work, close it up and make a few visual changes then sell it (exactly what I see with people taking rep-rap controllers, removing a few components then selling it in £15,000 printers)

I certainly promote opensource, however at the end of the day we all still need job to put a roof over our head and food in our mouths.

I think there does need to be recognition of 'open' / hackable products or some sort of method for companies to still profit off it reasonably without loss of sales and other companies quickly stealing their designs / products and rebranding. It's corprate suicide to open your product up fully.
 

Offline prasimix

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #41 on: August 03, 2016, 08:26:57 pm »
It's corprate suicide to open your product up fully.

Yes, especially if company operating too long on closed/patentable premise. Decision to become more open can seriously endanger complete operation because such decision is not enough without actions to change corporate climate and their work force (firing old and faithful and employ new/young and "crazy") to start to thinking what openness can bring to them and not how it is dangerous for its enterprise. Not many people can change a side without been seriously disturbed. Companies like Sparkfun is in much better position to survive openness because that was corporate reality from day one.

 
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Offline b_force

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #42 on: August 03, 2016, 09:37:31 pm »
The guys from Sparkfun summarizes exactly what I said. :)

Thinking that a patent will save your ass is utopian as well, and thinking that it is the only way to save/earn money is simply untrue.
Every professional company knows exactly what and how their competitors are doing.
They all reverse engineer other products (or don't bother because they simple already know).
In the end they change a few minor things to bypass the patent, put extra effort in their PR and salesmen and they are good as gold.

Second to that, it's a misunderstanding and naive way of thinking that technology sells (sorry everyone).
You can have an amazing idea, which is state of the art from a technological point of view, but if you don't know how to promote it, it's isn't worth a single penny.
It's all about timing, looks, knowing ('bribing') the right people and putting a pretty face on it.
If we go back in history you'll find thousands of ideas that were much better on paper, but they where a big fail instead.
Most companies don't even work from a patent and are just being fancy about their so called special amazing secret 'voodoo' solution.
Which works great for the majority of the costumers, who think it's all special and unique.
For a trained eye it is just the same principal covered in a fancy coat.
So it doesn't matter if you open source that or not. For the majority it is still amazing voodoo.

Nowadays, patents are only being used for threatening people or for sales (something has a patent, so it must be good!!  :palm:)
In some cases you don't really need to worry if you are not a direct competitor.
For example, I produce certain high power audio amplifiers modules with a very obvious feedback loop that I was lucky enough to patent.
All set you might think, but this is where the trouble starts, because now I have the search actively if people infringe my patent.
Secondly, some others companies can use a totally different amplifier (but with only the same feedback loop) in end products for a very specific market.
In other words, they don't sell amplifiers modules like I do.
The question is, am I gonna spend effort in hunting people who infringe my patent that way or do I focus on better and new products?

By the way, the feedback loop patent is a great story where patents do more harm than good.
I have even read stories about that a certain (but only usable) formula has a patent.
In both examples it is to unfortunate if the company has a great patent but just very mediocre (and expensive) products.

To me it's all just a waste of effort, energy and money

Anyway, I think we are going off track here.
The idea is to discuss about how to define and use open source hardware, not discuss if open source will work or not  ;) 8) :)

« Last Edit: August 03, 2016, 09:40:20 pm by b_force »
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Offline magetoo

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #43 on: August 15, 2016, 05:54:19 am »
Something about "open hardware" has seemed just a bit off to me, and I just thought of a reason why that might be.  Rant follows.


How an open license should look like depends on what the goals of the people behind it are.  What are the goals of an open hardware license?

For example, the whole FSF/GNU/etc endeavor has as its goal that a user of a piece of software should always be able to modify it; therefore the GNU GPL is written in such a way that it precludes not making the source code available.

As time has gone on, the license has grown into a complex legal document in order to plug loopholes that could be used to keep users from changing software they use - for example version 3 came about due to a situation where users could see the source code, change the source code, but the device that ran the software would refuse to use the modified version.

The BSD/MIT/ISC/etc school of thought comes about from starting with a completely different goal, that of being able to publish ones work for anyone to use while still keeping the right to be identified as the author.  There hasn't been much need to close loopholes, and these licenses as a consequence are short and completely human readable.


So what's the goal of having a license for opening up hardware designs?  If the goal is that a user should be able to make changes, then it seems that you would need clauses that require publication of schematics and documentation, including the theory behind how circuits work, and perhaps descriptions of why design decisions have been made certain ways and not others.

If the goal is just that people should be allowed to make copies, then requiring that PCB design files, BOMs, etc be make available might be enough.  (But that's not all that interesting.)

One other possible goal might be to support the open source software movement.  In that case, it would make sense to require that the design files use open formats, that no binary-only firmware blobs are required, and likely many other things.


But what is the goal, exactly?  I haven't seen this clearly articulated anywhere.  Perhaps it's just that different people have different ideas and can only agree on a few things?

Whatever the reason, the open hardware movement looks like a cargo-cult copy of the open source software movement, in my opinion.  Licenses and logos, but where are the big projects that build on previous work to make something new?
 

Offline @rt

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2016, 05:47:12 pm »
I recently let some software go under GPL v2.

Nothing really seems to fit what I want, which is really only that anyone can do whatever they want with it except for use it in a commercial product, and make money from it when I didn’t make money for writing it.
The project has hardware to follow as well, so makes it relevant.

It seems a fairly simple wish, but even GPL doesn’t seem to really cover that.
It just seems that a manufacturer would have to release source code, but could still make a product.

So for that reason alone, I don’t understand why anyone would care about so called “open source” and be happy with that.

It has happened to me before by the way, just that the project was trivial, and would now take me half a day for the hardware and software.
....  but still it leaves a bad taste.


« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 05:48:45 pm by @rt »
 

Offline wilfred

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2016, 07:01:19 pm »

I personally still believe that it is also the only way to get the best products on the market, because there are no profits involved.
A company with a patent could just freeze the whole development and sell his product forever.
A company without patent protection my not be able to justify the financial risk in the first place. Patents were created for a reason.  Pharmaceutical companies try to extend patent protection by making tiny changes.  Even with the possibility of patent protection pharmaceutical companies are not pursuing some areas because the economics are marginal.
Quote
So if your product uses a uController with very specific software and that software is not available, it is not open source.
Even if the rest of your idea is entirely open, the whole thing is useless if people can't use your code.

I think it is logically inconsistent to partition a project into a part, even a majority part, that is entirely open and another part that is closed. If it isn't actually entirely open then it is entirely closed.  People who try to fragment an idea or project into an open part and a closed part do so for their own personal motives. Motives that are not consistent with the spirit of creating something that others can reproduce and modify and in so doing further benefit the world.

I have come, in what limited thinking I have applied to the concept of open source, to this way of looking at it.
I have applied the Darwinian theory of evolution to the definition of Open Source. If the project is fully documented and reproducible by someone else then they have the opportunity to modify it. All people who are interested can modify it. That pool of people in my evolution analogy form the "environment" into which the idea has to establish its fitness to survive. The poor ideas will not attract others and will die off in favour of ideas that find a greater number of  people who seek to reproduce and modify it. Those modifications form the genetic mutation that further carries the idea and strengthens its claim as fit to survive as the requirements of the environment change.

If the idea cannot be reproduced and evolve in an environment then my definition is it is NOT open. That alone is the necessary and sufficient condition.

Taking that definition and extending the analogy of evolution as it applies in real world debates in opposition to creationists and other religious beliefs. I come to the view that after having established an idea in the above terms that further debate around the nature of what it or is not open can be classified as a "religious debate".

Fine points relating to whether open source compilers and design software must be used, or whether English (or other) only documentation and not a variety of languages is provided, or whether single source semiconductors are used and so on are not material to my particular definition of open. The debate on those matters can be put into the definition but doing so will necessarily reduce the number of open source projects. I won't say it is not valid to do so but I cannot see the debate ever reaching universal agreement and hence I see little value in insisting on them.

So for me it is sufficient and necessary that an idea can be reproduced and it is less important how it can be reproduced.

An analogous way of looking at it is you don't have to be pretty to reproduce but it's nice if you are.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: OSHWA: Open Source Hardware Certification Version 1
« Reply #46 on: December 30, 2016, 12:06:50 am »
@ wilfred
The reasons why patents were invented is pretty obvious I think.
How it's being done in practice is something else. It pretty much comes down to the point that the person/company with the biggest wallet wins.

I like your analogy with evolution. That's also exactly my point what I have against patents.
With patents, evolution stops. Good ideas can't being taken a step further (as in, I company can have a wonderful idea, but bad implementation) and if somebody has marketing skills; enough bad ideas overrun everything (including big myths)

Unfortunately we live in a world that's based on making and investing as much money as possible.
That's the reason why I don't think a black and white approach is gonna help and there I do believe it is possible to be partially open (or closed).
It's just practical compromise that's necessary, also because there are people around who just wanna take a ride with someone else's ideas.
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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